Most of us do not have to think twice about this question of How to know if I’m an addict. WE KNOW! Our whole life and thinking was centered in drugs in one form or another—the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more. We lived to use and used to live. Very simply, an addict is a man or woman whose life is controlled by drugs. We are people in the grip of a continuing and progressive illness whose ends are always the same: jails, institutions and death. (NA Blue Book). Watch the video here or below to get a clearer understanding of what modern day addiction can look like, from a presidents perspective no less.
As addicts, or when even asking How to know if I’m an addict, we are people whose use of any mind-altering, mood-changing substance causes a problem in any area of life. Addiction is a disease that involves more than the use of drugs. Some of us believe that our disease was present long before the first time we used. Most of us did not consider ourselves addicted before coming to the Narcotics Anonymous Program. The information available to us came from misinformed people. As long as we could stop using for a while, we thought we were all right. We looked at the stopping, not the using. As our addiction progressed, we thought of stopping less and less. Only in desperation did we ask ourselves, “Could it be the drugs?”
Answering the question of How to know if I’m an addict is all over the web. However there is very little general consensus. Even on addiction being a disease for example. It was only officially termed a brain disease in 2013. What we do know is people don’t choose to be addicts. First they become impulsive, using a drug more and more which isolates them from others, especially those who don’t approve of their behaviours. Then over time they become compulsive. It becomes all about the drugs, the parties, and the secrets, using, buying, hiding and lying.
It becomes compulsively about more and more drugs and less and less about other things. This is a massive tipping point. Once it becomes repulsive it is too late. You’re passed asking a question of how to know if I’m an addict or not. Now you need to start asking what the hell happened and how do I get help. So first impulsive, then compulsive and then repulsive. On this point ask yourself are my choices, feeling, the things I do and say….are they beautiful or ugly? Be honest.
Addiction is a progressive disease. The NA book goes on to detail the following about it. It shares that our world shrank and isolation became our life. We used in order to survive. It was the only way of life that we knew. Some of us used, misused and abused drugs and still did not consider ourselves addicts. Through all of this, we kept telling ourselves, “I can handle it.” Our misconceptions about the nature of addiction included visions of violence, street crime, dirty needles and jail. There is no such thing as an addiction under control! We were forced to survive any way that we could. We manipulated people and tried to control everything around us. We lied, stole, cheated and sold ourselves. We had to have drugs regardless of the cost. Failure and fear began to invade our lives along with the real question creeping in more and more often of how to know if I’m an addict? One aspect of our addiction was our inability to deal with life on life’s terms. We tried drugs and combinations of drugs to cope with a seemingly hostile world. We dreamed of finding a magic formula that would solve our ultimate problem—ourselves. The fact was that we could not use any mind-altering or mood-changing substance, including marijuana and alcohol, successfully. Drugs ceased to make us feel good. First we used drugs and then drugs used us. Things change quickly. Addiction gets worse. It flips out of control on a dime.
How to know if I’m an addict is summed up here:
At times, we were defensive about our addiction and justified our right to use. We were proud of the sometimes illegal and often bizarre behavior that typified our using.
We “forgot” about the times when we sat alone and were consumed by fear and self-pity.
We fell into a pattern of selective thinking.
We only remembered the good drug experiences.
We justified and rationalized the things that we did to keep from being sick or going crazy.
We ignored the times when life seemed to be a nightmare.
We avoided the reality of our addiction.
Higher mental and emotional functions, such as conscience and the ability to love, were sharply affected by our use of drugs.
Living skills were reduced to the animal level. Our spirit was broken. The capacity to feel human was lost.
We lacked the ability to cope with daily living.
As our addiction progressed, many of us found ourselves in and out of institutions and Dr. rooms.
We had regained good physical health many times, only to lose it by using again.
Our lives had started becoming unmanageable.
Our track record shows that it is impossible for us to use successfully. No matter how well we may appear to be in control, using drugs always brings us to our knees.
When looked at honestly, is not that hard to answer, when looking at the list above. Like other incurable diseases, addiction can be arrested. We agree that there is nothing shameful about being an addict, provided we accept our dilemma honestly and take positive action. We are willing to admit without reservation that we are allergic to drugs.
At first, we were using in a manner that seemed to be social or at least controllable. But there is nothing controllable about a drug you put into your body, that affects your mind and moods. Nothing! We had little indication of the disaster that the future held for us. At some point, our using became uncontrollable and anti-social. This began when things were going well, and we were in situations that allowed us to use frequently. This was usually the end of the good times.
Recovery is what happens in our meetings. Our lives are at stake. We found that by putting recovery first, the program works. We faced three disturbing realizations:
- We are powerless over addiction and our lives are unmanageable;
- Although we are not responsible for our disease, we are responsible for our recovery;
- We can no longer blame people, places and things for our addiction. We must face our problems and our feelings.
The ultimate weapon for recovery is the recovering addict. We concentrate on recovery and feelings not what we have done in the past. Old friends, places and ideas are often a threat to our recovery. We need to change our playmates, playgrounds and playthings.
What has to change? Everything! For more help get into a programme today, do one of our online course, get our resources and books, on how to recovery from addictions, speak to our drug addiction counsellors or book into our drug rehab centre. Get External help! Addiction is a family disease, they won’t be able to help you deal with your emotions on the level of addiction and compulsion That ship, has started to sail. Addiction is treatable. We do recover. So, “how to know if I’m an addict” can be answered right here and right now. Blessings on your journey of recovery, life and new, sober, high quality adventures.
For more information on How to know if I’m an addict or our drug rehab centre resources contact us today.